Yesterday, August 14th of 2012, USCIS released the application for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. And today, USCIS began accepting applications.
Of course, you want to turn in the application as soon as possible, but there’s no deadline as of now, and it’s better to get informed and turn in your application accurately. Because this process is based on a case-by-case and there is a chance applications will be denied; you want to make sure you are informed about the process and your case/application before submitting any paperwork.
So, since the awaited moment has arrived, many are wondering what do I do now?
1) If you haven’t yet, read the application and its requirements, and answer this question- Do I meet the requirements?
Here are the requirements and a link to the actual application:
• Came to the United States before you were 16 years old
• Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012
• Continuously lived in the United States for at least 5 years before June 15, 2012
• Are at least 15 years old if you aren’t in removal proceedings
• Currently enrolled in elementary school, junior high/middle school, high school or in federal/state funded GED program, graduated from high school or obtained a GED, or were honorably discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard or Armed Forces
• Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and remain physically present
Official link to application: “i-821D, Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”
2) Do more research about the application process.
It doesn’t hurt to get informed. However, it can hurt your application if you’re not informed. So please take the time to read through the following information.
*Official information and FAQ’S: “Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”
*United We Dream also has several helpful resources regarding deferred action that you may want to check out.
3) Should you or should you not get a lawyer?
This question can only be answered on a case by case scenario because each case is complex and specific. So my best advice is to seek reliable legal assistance. Whether that means you are paying a reliable lawyer or getting help from local organizations, the key here is to make sure they can be trusted and have reliable information.
Prerna Lal, DREAMer/3rd year law student/activist, has put together a post on why it is advisable to get a lawyer:”Why Dreamers Need Lawyers“. I highly recommend reading this piece, do more research, and make an informed decision.
4) Go to informational forums in your community.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to get informed! So if there will be a local informational forum on deferred action near you, please attend.
5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help/more information.
Whether you ask at the informational forums, via community organizations, or in contact with a lawyer, make sure to always ask if there is anything you’re unclear about.
6) As you’re getting informed, check out the application (link previously included on this post) and try to fill it out.
*DO NOT turn it in after the first time you go through it.
I recommend reading the instructions, answering what you can on the application, and from there you will see what your concerns are and what you need help with.
7) Know that deferred action is indeed an important step, but not the last.
After the application came out yesterday, I couldn’t believe how many misconceptions there were already about DACA! And to top that off, I received the news that Arizona’s governor, Jan Brewer, is denying access to State ID’s and Driver’s Licenses to DACA beneficiaries in AZ.
Also, I can’t forget that even though President Obama made this announcement- it’s not the end. There are a lot of undocumented youth who have aged out, got to the U.S. after 16, or have been deported.
8) Last, but not least, here are some quick facts:
*Deferred action is NOT the DREAM Act.
*Deferred action does NOT mean legal citizenship status or a path to legal citizenship.
Don’t forget to visit our website http://www.MyUndocumentedLife.org from your computer (not just mobile phone) so you can have access to the wide range of resources we provide. Be sure to subscribe (it’s free) for up-to-date information and resources for undocumented immigrants.
At My Undocumented Life blog we provide up-to-date information and resources to undocumented immigrants. We post scholarship opportunities that are open to undocumented students, strategies for navigating the educational system, information on how to apply for DACA, news on immigration policies, and much more. Most importantly, we want to provide a sense of community to our diverse group of readers.